The agricultural sector is the backbone of the Kenyan economy as it contributes to around 25% of the GNP and employs 75% of the labour force. The livestock sector numbers around 13, million cattle, 22 Million sheep and goats and 1 million camels. Besides that there are on average about 350,000 pigs and 25 million chickens.
The livestock sub-sector contributes 10% to the GNP of which 3.5% originates from the dairy sector. Total beef and milk from cattle are estimated on 320,000 MT and 3million MT per annum respectively. The fast majority of the beef is produced by the pastoral system in the ASAL areas providing livelihood for about 3 million people. Small-scale farmers in the high potential areas produce 75% of the cattle milk. Their number is estimated between 6 and 700,000.
The main constraints in the dairy sector are in the field of animal husbandry, supply of inputs and services including credit and milk marketing.
The Kenyan livestock sector used to have a reasonably well-established infrastructure. Unfortunately the quality of this structure had eroded during the nineties and has not been adapted to the changing situation, with thousands of small-scale farmers and increased attention for the ASAL areas. The Government puts in a lot of effort to change the situation. Increased output of the livestock sector will be achieved by further commercialisation, improved security and infrastructure, adequate supply of inputs and services and value addition in production areas where possible. This in combination with production systems based on sustainability and conservation of the natural environment.
The legal framework to govern the livestock sector is organised as follows: